emo·tion | \i-ˈmō-shən \

Definition of emotion 

1a obsolete : disturbance

b : excitement

2a : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling

b : a state of feeling

c : a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body

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Choose the Right Synonym for emotion

feeling, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation. feeling denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it. the feelings that once moved me are gone emotion carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like feeling, encompasses both positive and negative responses. the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings. a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea. her feminist sentiments are well known passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion. revenge became his ruling passion

Examples of emotion in a Sentence

a display of raw emotion The defendant showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She was overcome with emotion at the news of her friend's death.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Scents can be a powerful trigger for emotion and memory, stimulating the olfactory nerve and sending signals directly to the brain. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Trouble sleeping? Let your senses be your guide," 12 July 2018 Both Wills and Jason brought different emotions and feelings into the evening. Becca Kufrin, PEOPLE.com, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin Explains Her Reaction to Colton Being a Virgin: ' I Needed a Moment'," 11 July 2018 JaLon, a born-again Christian, said her sound is inspired by scripture, emotions and artists such as Lauryn Hill and Billie Holiday. Morgan Smith, chicagotribune.com, "Navy Pier hosts first annual Chi-Soul Fest," 27 June 2018 Last summer, Charlottesville, Virginia, became the site of a multi-day white-supremacist march and rally that left one woman, a counter-protester, dead, setting off a wave of emotions and accusations that shook the city and the country. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "Charlottesville’s Divides Are America’s Divides," 26 June 2018 Last week, a study published in the journal Developmental Psychology found that helicopter parents — those who hover over their children — can diminish their children’s ability to regulate emotions and behavior. Elizabeth Chuck /, NBC News, "How much risk is good for kids? Parents make the case for more adventurous childhoods," 26 June 2018 The move to center field was met with a variety of thoughts and emotions from Royals fans. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Alcides Escobar to start Friday in center field for Royals, and fan reaction is mixed," 22 June 2018 More than dozen friends and relatives of Garcia were in court to witness the hearing, and some were overcome with emotion at the sight of Ashby and later as Garcia’s daughter began to speak. David Owens, courant.com, "Ex-Death Row Inmate Lazale Ashby Resentenced To Life Without Possibility Of Release," 21 June 2018 More impressive were the verbs; more impressive still was the language of mood and emotion and spatial relations — more and sad and in and stupid and please and hurry and out. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Koko the Gorilla Wasn't Human, But She Taught Us So Much About Ourselves," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of emotion

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for emotion

Middle French, from emouvoir to stir up, from Old French esmovoir, from Latin emovēre to remove, displace, from e- + movēre to move

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Phrases Related to emotion

mixed emotions

Statistics for emotion

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for emotion

The first known use of emotion was in 1579

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More Definitions for emotion



English Language Learners Definition of emotion

: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)


emo·tion | \i-ˈmō-shən \

Kids Definition of emotion

: strong feeling (as anger, love, joy, or fear) often accompanied by a physical reaction She flushed with emotion.


emo·tion | \i-ˈmō-shən \

Medical Definition of emotion 

1 : the affective aspect of consciousness

2 : a state of feeling

3 : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body — compare affect

Other Words from emotion

emotional \-shnəl, -shən-ᵊl \ adjective
emotionality \-ˌmō-shə-ˈnal-ət-ē \ noun plural emotionalities
emotionally \-ˈmō-shnə-lē, -shən-ᵊl-ē \ adverb

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